It's a slow evolution but it's happening. Digital marketing is maturing. For a while, online marketing was about traffic to your website. Then it was about lead generation.
Now the emphasis is shifting toward how to convert leads into customers and the role content can play in that. Which, while not the primary purpose of content marketing, is certainly one aspect.
In the 2017 State of Pipeline Marketing Report from revenue attribution solution Bizible, the proportion of marketers saying that their top marketing priority is to convert leads to customers increased from 34.1% to 42.3% year-on-year.
By contrast, the proportion saying that their number one priority is generating more leads decreased from 45.7% to 35.4% over the same period.
This is a step in the right direction although there is a long way to go yet. Content marketing is much more than simply customer acquisition through lead conversion. It is fundamentally about the building of trust and engagement through audience development.
That said, it's encouraging to see the trend toward more sophisticated use of content across the sales funnel. Just remember that an audience is so much more than a collection of leads. It's the future state of your business that you haven't yet fully envisioned.